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Health roundup: Growth at Chesapeake Regional, abortion pill access rules in N.C overturned and more

Cigna said prices at Chesapeake Regional are higher than other hospitals in the area. The hospital says that's "simply untrue." (Image: Katherine Hafner)
Photo by Katherine Hafner
Chesapeake Regional leadership said they plan on seeking a Level 3 trauma designation soon.

Some of the health headlines from Hampton Roads and Virginia in June

EVMS, ODU officially merge July 1

Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School announced they will make their merger official July 1.

The new Macon and Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion is the state’s largest academic health center in the state.

Together, the two schools have roughly 5,000 students studying medicine. The plan is to grow the number of health professionals trained in Hampton Roads.

“We know that demands in the community are incredible, at every level – at physician, physicians’ assistant, nurses -- so we have plans to expand,” EVMS President Alfred Abuhamad said.

Read more about the new center here

North Carolina abortion pill access laws overturned

A North Carolina federal judge overruled a spate of state laws that imposed new requirements on the use of mifepristone, a drug used to induce menstruation and abortions.

Here’s more from partner station WUNC:

From WUNC: North Carolina abortion pill access laws overturned

Abortion is becoming more common in primary care clinics as doctors challenge stigma

On a typical Tuesday at Seven Hills Family Medicine in Richmond, appointments range from diabetes follow-ups, concerns about new knee pain and sometimes, a patient arrives from another state for an abortion.

The trend of primary care integrating abortions, usually in early pregnancy, is growing in states where abortion is legal.

While there is little data on how common this is becoming, NPR heard from primary care doctors across the country who said they are expanding their practices to provide abortion care.

Read more from NPR

Virginia’s state budget will fund OB-GYN medical residencies amid obstetrics closureshttps://www.whro.org/health/2024-06-18/virginias-state-budget-will-fund-ob-gyn-medical-residencies-amid-obstetrics-closures

Chesapeake Regional previews new programsChesapeake Regional Medical Center gave state health officials an early look into its psychiatric emergency room, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, or CPEP, is part of Chesapeake Regional’s larger behavioral health program, which includes a 20-bed inpatient unit expected to open in fall 2025 and an outpatient program to open next year.

Read about Chesapeake Regional’s psychiatric emergency room here

While Chesapeake Regional CEO and President Reese Jackson spoke about the behavioral health program, he also mentioned plans for the hospital to apply for a trauma designation.

He said the hospital planned to go through the process anyway, but after the 2022 Walmart shooting in Chesapeake required them to reroute some victims, hospital leaders decided to move faster on the process.

“The incident that occurred at Walmart … had a galvanizing impact,” Jackson said.

Read more about Chesapeake Regional’s trauma designation here

Youngkin reestablishes maternal health data task force

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a new executive order to reestablish a maternal health data task force a little over a month after vetoing legislation designed to accomplish the same goal.

The Maternal Health Data and Quality Measures Task Force will collect maternal health data that can inform future policy.

The task force was first established in 2021 and ran through the end of last year, but the report from that group wasn’t published in time for the 2024 legislative session.

The re-established group will develop recommendations for standard quality metrics on maternal care and report findings to the governor and state legislature by Dec. 1, 2025.

Read more from our media partner the Virginia Mercury

Mechelle is News Director at WHRO. She helped launch the newsroom as a reporter in 2020. She's worked in newspapers and nonprofit news in her career. Mechelle lives in Virginia Beach, where she grew up.

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